Bass Pro Shops Announces 2016 Conservation Partners of the Year
Pioneer founder of the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society (B.A.S.S.) Ray Scott; legendary angler Bill Dance; and country music artist John Anderson among those honored for achievements
Celebratory event salutes conservation with Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, former US Marine Mark Geist and NASCAR star Martin Truex, Jr.
Bass Pro Shops has presented a series of awards for noted conservation partners of the year including Bass Anglers Sportsman Society (B.A.S.S.) founder Ray Scott; legendary angler Bill Dance; and country music recording artist John Anderson. Bass Pro Shops Founder Johnny Morris announced the awards during a special holiday ceremony with Bass Pro Shops associates at the company's headquarters in Springfield, Missouri.
"All of us at Bass Pro Shops are proud to honor these individuals for their unwavering dedication to conservation," said Morris who is himself a noted conservationist. "Long recognized and well respected as leaders for their conservation efforts and support, they continue to help restore and conserve our natural resources and important habitats for North America's wildlife."
Ray W. Scott, Jr – Fisherman's Best Friend Award
A true pioneer in the sport of bassfishing, Scott has also contributed to significant conservation efforts throughout his career including tournaments that paved the way for the "Catch and Release" concept. Today more than 98 percent of the bass weighed-in during national B.A.S.S. tournaments are returned alive to the waters. He also advocated against the dumping of aquatic herbicides in public waters.
Bill Dance – Fisherman's Best Friend Award
Dance and Morris first became friends when both were on the professional bass circuit and have worked together to promote key conservation issues. Most recently, Dance was instrumental in the formation of Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid in his hometown of Memphis, Tennessee. Morris was still contemplating the project when he and Dance went fishing in the shadow of the Pyramid along with the late Jack Emmitt, Bass Pro Shops' first fishing manager. Morris said if they caught a 30-pound or heavier catfish that day he would commit to the Pyramid transformation. As the legend goes, they caught a 34-pound catfish and the rest is history.
John Anderson – Conservation Partner of the Year
Special Guests and Appearances
Former US Marine Mark Geist was also honored at the event with a special Defender of Freedom Award, part of the company's long-standing tradition of honoring members of the armed services, veterans and their families.
NASCAR star Martin Truex, Jr. also attended the event to thank Morris and Bass Pro Shops for its generous donations to the Martin Truex, Jr. Foundation in support of cancer research.
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